Monday, May 7, 2012

Series Review: Stephanie Plum

I love to read. When I was younger I read every single one of "The Babysitter's Club" and "Goosebumps" books  (actually, I have the entire series's in a box in my garage), and then I sort of stopped reading for pleasure as I was having to much fun not being a geek. But then my mom sparked my love affair again when I was semi-forced to read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" at age 15. I've been able to read for pleasure ever since, and I'm so grateful.

When I read a series, I read the entire series whether I'm "into it" or not. This is for a couple of reasons

1. I want to know what happens. Will it get better? Does the writing improve? What happens to the characters? Is there a major plot twist? I need closure. (a good example is Twilight. I read the series because I wanted to know what was going to happen, and I was hoping the writing would get better). I simply can not put a book in a series down and not go back because it will always be in the back of my mind, and pop up in the weirdest times and I will feel compelled to find out what happens.

2. I'm obsessed with the Characters. (example Harry Potter. If JK Rowling ever wrote another Harry Book, you bet I'd be in line at midnight at Barnes and Nobel eagerly awaiting the release)

3. A mix of the 2 above.

#3 is what did it for me for the Stephanie Plum series. There are 22 books total (18 regular novels, and 4 holiday between-the-numbers novella's), and I read them all in a matter of weeks. Truthfully, the first 13 (12 number novels and 1 holiday novella) I read because I was obsessed with the characters. I mean obsessed. I was reading the books so often I actually started dreaming about the plots and characters. Weird and a little creepy, I know. After that I was reading them because I wanted to know what was happening. I'm still in love with the characters, but my focus was more "what's happening with everyone", like they were old friends I wanted to catch up with.

Basic Plot: *spoilers* Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter mess. She and her partner Lula go to get their FTA's, spot them, lose them, get shot at, end up rolling around in garbage, someone is trying to kill her, Stephanie finally calls Ranger for help, there is flirting with Joe and Ranger, fights between Joe and Stephanie, and then the book ends with Joe and Stephanie {usually} making up.

By about the 14th book I started feeling sad for the characters. It actually started to really bother me that Stephanie is dipping her hands in both honey pots. I mean after 18 books {22 if you count the novella's which you really can't because Ranger and Morelli are only mentioned in them. I'm also glad Evanovich decided to give Diesel his own series instead of making him a real interest for Stephanie} you're attached to the characters and you are in love with them, and their stories, who they are. It's sort of a slap in the face to realize they're being played. Although I've always thought that the way the books always ends, it seems to elude to the choice Stephanie has made. I think the series has to be on it's way out, and if that's the case I will be sad, but everything has to come to an end eventually right?

All in all I give the whole series a 4 out of 5 star rating. The series keeps me entertained, enthralled and interested; I laughed, I cried, I got frustrated and if/when another book is released I will read it, and I will laugh and cry and throw my fist in the air in frustration, and then laugh some more.

Now, for something so cool. I can not express into words how exciting this was for me! A couple weeks ago I wrote an e-mail telling her that I was going to be doing this review and I was hoping I could have a small Q&A with her. I was expecting a "Thanks, but she's too busy" e-mail in return. My heart leaped out of my throat when I got a positive response! I got to ask 6 questions that she would answer herself! As soon as I read it, my mind went blank. What was I going to ask her? What I really wanted to ask her, I didn't think I'd get a response too, so I left the "please tell me who she chooses" question out, although I asked a more open ended version of it. And then, as always, as soon as I hit "send" I thought of about 100 good questions I should have asked. Oh well. But without further ado... my small Q&A session with Janet Evanovich:

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?  
I always loved to make up stories, but I went to school to become an artist.  That didn't pan out (allergy to the paint) and when my kids were little, I decided to sit down and see if could write.  Ten years and three novels later, my first book was published.

2. Who, or what, inspires you?
 I'm inspired by the whole writing process -- there's nothing more thrilling to me that creating a whole world where there once was a blank computer screen.

3. Do you have a favorite book in the series?  
Like most writer's, I'm usually partial to my latest book.
 4. How did you decide to develop Ranger's character?  
I like the idea of a sexy man of mystery and just had to have one inhabit my books.

5. Do you have a clear direction the series is going, or do you write "on the spur of the moment, I have an idea I need to write it down"? 
As far as the series is concerned, I don't have an endgame figured out, if that's what you mean.  But I do know where I'm going with each book prior to starting the writing process.

 6. Do you know, and will we ever find out, who Stephanie chooses? 
At this point, I don't know who, if anyone, Stephanie will settle down with


Katy said...

Fun that the author responded to your questions!

I dont' tend to love series that don't have a planned ending, so I'm not sure if I'll pick this one up. However, if you're looking for some new series you could try:

Mary Russell, by Laurie R King (the first book is the Beekeepers Apprentice - and I super duper love it - not complete, but for the most part the books stand alone).

The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner (not complete)

Flavia de Luce, by Alan Bradley (first book is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Also not complete, but they stand alone pretty well)

and the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale (first book is The Goose Girl - all of the books in the series stand alone, but you should read them in order)

Tundra Blue said...

Like most readers I had assumed that Ms Evanovich had an idea in mind as to who Stephanie would eventually end up with. It is surprising to find out that she has no clue whatsoever - just like the rest of us!

If you don't mind reading long series, then check out JD Robb's In Death. It is a police procedural/mystery/romance, and while some of the crimes can be grizzly, there is always some humor to be found. Though I'd recommend that you start at the beginning, Naked in Death.

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